Hearing rescheduled for suspect in intern’s death


Staff And Wire Reports

A Pennsylvania man charged in the death of Daktronics sales Intern Jason Shephard had his preliminary hearing rescheduled to Nov. 16.

Charges filed in Pennsylvania against William Smithson include murder in the Sept. 18 strangulation of Shephard, 23, a student at Northern State University in Aberdeen, and intern for Brookings.-based Daktronics.

Shephard was in Pennsylvania on a business trip for Daktronics. He was working with Smithson, a local sales manager for the firm.

Shephard’s body was found in the basement of Smithson’s home. He is accused of slipping Shephard a date-rape drug, then killing him when Shephard resisted his sexual advances.

Friend and coworker Steve Schreiber said Shephard would’ve begun class work at SDSU in the spring, aiming for a physical education degree.

“He was a friend in every sense of the word. Just a great kid,” said Schreiber.

In addition to first-degree murder, Smithson is charged with second- and third-degree murder, criminal attempted rape, abuse of a corpse and other counts. He showed little emotion at a court appearance in Glen Mills, Pa., on Sept. 22, shaking his head when the abuse of a corpse and attempted rape charges were read.

He made no comment after the hearing and was being held without bail. His preliminary hearing has now been delayed twice.

Smithson, of Thornbury Township, Pa., is being held without bond.

#1.883953:774231631.jpg:shephard22.jpg:Jason Shephard: